Tips for Successful Outdoor Recreation in the Organ Mountain Desert Peaks National Monument
High Temperatures & Low Humidity
Please, drink plenty of water during recreational activities. Make sure to drink at least a liter every hour you’re out in the sun. Apply sunscreen, and/or wear a hat and other sun-protective clothing.
Pets must be kept on a leash at all times within developed recreation areas. Make sure they are under control at all times in other areas to protect wildlife and for their own protection. Rattlesnakes may be encountered anytime of the year, especially during warmer months.
Loose Footing, Sharp Rocks, Prickly Vegetation
Be sure to wear sturdy shoes or boots (and good socks) while walking or hiking as trails/terrain may be rough, at least in spots, or slippery due to loose rock and gravel. Long pants and long sleeves are often a good choice for protection from desert vegetation.
Camping and Campfires
Aguirre Springs Campground is the only developed campground in the Monument and requires a fee. Fire rings are provided. Do not leave fires unattended. Primitive camping is allowed in other areas of the Monument and does not require a permit or fee.
Sites and artifacts dating back many centuries are located within the Monument. Removal or disturbance of these artifacts destroys valuable information about our past and is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.
Even for a short hike, it pays to be prepared. Tuck some snacks, a headlamp or flashlight (in case you get caught on the trail after dark), and a first aid kit in your day pack. Leave a note in your car with information about your plans. Don’t forget your cell phone.
Please do not litter. Leave no trace.
HIKING WITH YOUR DOG
Water & Snacks
The Soroptimist Challenge takes place during the cooler parts of our year here in Southern New Mexico. However, you may still encounter warm weather, especially in the afternoon.
Be sure to carry enough water for you AND for your pet. Your dog will need as much water as you do — or more. Bring a portable pet water bowl. If you are planning to be on the trail long enough to need snacks or lunch, bring something for your dog, too. Hiking burns a lot of calories for people and dogs.
Rest & Shade
Give your dog rest time in the shade no matter how well conditioned he is. When you see your dog seeking out the scant shade of a cactus or desert shrub, he is probably trying to tell you it’s time to stop and recuperate. A damp towel (carried in a plastic ziplock bag) can help your dog cool down faster. Remember that heat exhaustion is very common in dogs. Early signs include rapid breathing, heavy panting and salivating. Other signs include fatigue, muscle tremors and staggering. Don’t allow your dog to get to this point. If he does, take him to the coolest, shadiest place available and apply wet towels or cloths to help the dog’s body cool down. Try to give the dog small amounts of water and contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.
It is best to keep your dog leashed on hikes. You may encounter rattlesnakes and small and large critters year round. Most dogs are excited by movement, and often curiosity and the hunt and chase instincts trump even the best obedience training. Don’t let your dog terrorize small creatures or chase the larger, faster ones.
Pick up after your Dog
In dry desert air, the evidence that your dog has visited tends to mummify rather than decompose. Please don’t leave it for hikers to discover years from now. Bring “doggie bags” and do “carry out.”